U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is trying to decide what to do with the Little Bird, one of its oldest but most legendary special operations helicopters.

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the “Night Stalkers,” uses two variants of the Little Bird: the AH-6, which is the attack/assault version, and the MH-6, which is the assault/transport version of the egg-shaped chopper.

The AH-6 conducts precision close air support and assaults in support of U.S. special operations units. The MH-6, which is the unarmed version, transports commandos to target.

Their main customers are Joint Special Operations Command’s special missions units – the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEAL Team Six – and the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment.

An Egg You Don’t Want to Mess With

Army AH-6 Little Bird helicopter
A U.S. Army AH-6 Little Bird during an offensive air support exercise, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Artur Shvartsberg/U.S. Marine Corps)

The AH-6 can carry several weapon systems, including the M134 Minigun, which can shoot 6,000 rounds a minute; a GAU-19 .50-caliber Gatling gun; 2.75-inch Hydra 70 rockets; and even Hellfire air-to-surface and Stinger air-to-air missiles.

What makes the Little Bird helicopter extremely valuable is its small size and agility. In the hands of skilled pilots, the Little Bird can land almost anywhere or target almost anything with impunity.

The assault/transport version can surgically insert and extract troops, provide a great aerial platform for snipers, and even carry motorcycles.

The Night Stalkers operate about 50 Little Birds of both variants.